Blactown Advocate; 19 Jan 10; CHRISTINE O’MALEY
MORE animals are killed at Blacktown Animal Holding Facility than anywhere else in the state, yet it continues to use an archaic system where people have to bid to rescue a homeless pet.
The system allows the council to make money but puts some popular animals usually the cute puppies beyond the reach of an average family.
It also raises questions over whether it promotes pet adoption when the RSPCA has successfully opened its first non-profit pet shop at Rouse Hill.
Early this month, a little female terrier at the pound grabbed so much attention she was bid for by a dozen people and eventually sold for $400.
The Castle family, who missed out on the dog despite entering a bid of $150, 2 times the minimum sale price of $60, are outraged, saying 11 other dogs could have been rescued.
Instead, 11 families went home empty-handed.
“Our kids (aged 11, 4 and 22 months) were very disappointed,’’ Glendenning father-of-three Sean Castle said last Friday.
“They had picked out names.
“All we wanted to do was rescue a dog $400 to rescue a dog?
“You can buy a dog for that in a pet shop,’’ Mr Castle said.
A Blacktown Council spokeswoman said the bidding system was introduced to discourage semi-professional and backyard breeders who would go to the pound every morning and buy the desirable animals.
She said animals within the pound’s seven-to-14-day holding period could be bid for.
“When the animal is due out, the highest tender is contacted and offered the animal,’’ she said.
Cr Russ Dickens, a Blacktown vet, said the “worthless’’ system should be eliminated.
He introduced a no-kill policy late last year and said removing the tender process would help save animals on death row.
In 2008, 1419 dogs and 3146 cats were put down at the council facility.
“We don’t want to make money out of them,’’ Cr Dickens said. “We want to get them out of there and into a positive environment.’’
Another reader wrote to the Advocate online saying she was shocked when staff told her she had to bid on a staffy-cross puppy.
The Castle family eventually bought a cavalier king charles spaniel privately for $260 much less than they would have paid at the pound.
`It was an awful experience and we won’t go back,’’ Mr Castle said.
“It’s discrimination against people (on a limited income) who can’t afford to buy a dog, but who want to rescue a dog.’’
A council spokeswoman said the tender system was brought in to protect the average person.
“Prior to the introduction of the tender system semi-professional/backyard breeders would attend every morning on opening to see what animals were available to obtain,’’ she said.
“The average person who was unable to attend as regularly as the breeders would not have the same access.’’
At the animal shelters at Hawkesbury and Sutherland, there is no bidding system.
The RSPCA declined to comment on the bidding system.
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